Secret Report Throws Light on N.Korean Purges

      November 27, 2012 13:23

      Pak Nam-gi /Yonhap

      Senior North Korean apparatchik Pak Nam-gi was executed by firing squad in the course of a reactionary purge in 2010, a classified report obtained by the Chosun Ilbo reveal.

      Pak, the chief of the Workers Party's Planning and Finance Department, was accused spying for South Korea, and "admitted" at a trial in January 2010 that he tried to "embrace the South Korean economic model." He was shot two months later.

      The report details the entire proceedings until Pak's death sentence.

      It was completed at the end of last year and contains information on the purges of key officials from 1998 to 2011, when late leader Kim Jong-il was in power.

      The 322-page report was written by Ri Je-gang, the former first deputy director of the party's Organization and Guidance Department, who was considered Kim Jong-il's closest aide.

      When Ri died suddenly in June of 2010 while compiling the report, Kim Jong-il gathered his manuscripts to publish it as an internal document for party officials.

      It was referenced in a film shown on North Korea's state-run TV on Nov. 11 hailing the achievements of loyal party members. "Kim Jong-il appears to have entrusted Ri with compiling the report to justify making high-ranking officials take the fall for his blunders," said a senior government official here.

      Left: The cover of a classified report detailing North Korean purges; Right: This file photo shows Ri Je-gang, the former first deputy director of the party's Organization and Guidance Department, holding hands with North Koran leader Kim Jong-un.

      Ri worked for 37 years in the department, which is seen as the regime's control tower. The department controls who is appointed to what post and vets candidates being considered for key positions.

      Ri led it for nine years, demonstrating the trust Kim Jong-il placed in him.

      Ri was a bitter rival of North Korea's present eminence grise Jang Song-taek, Kim Jong-il's brother in law. He was believed to have been behind the disgrace of Jang, who was accused of fomenting dissent, stripped of his position and banished to a remote province along with his supporters in 2003.

      When it was reported in June 2010 that Ri had died in a car accident, there were strong suspicions that he was assassinated. Ri was deeply involved in the selection of officials to support the regime after Kim Jong-il's death. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's mother Ko Yong-hui apparently sought Ri's help to get her son anointed as his father's successor.

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